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NCAA Tournament Sunday Preview, Open Thread

HOOOOOOBOY it’s a B1G Sunday and is it gonna be painful.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another MNW severely behind on his writing. Thanks to Kind of... and MaximumSam for the assists here, as well as a SURPRISE PURDUE APPEARANCE.

NCAA Men’s Tournament

[5] Houston Cougars vs. [4] Illinois Fighting Illini

11:10am | CBS | UH -4.5 | O/U 133.5
South Region — PPG Paints Arena (Pittsburgh, PA)

MaximumSam: This was a rough draw when they announced the brackets, one Illinois nearly decided to just skip. Houston is a FancyStat darling at #3 overall on KenPom and #2 on Torvik. They could have just as easily been a one seed as a five seed. The Illini really, really need a strong shooting performance from their guards, who were mostly MIA against Chattanooga.

HWAHSQB: Illinois narrowly avoided being thrice snakebit by the Mocs, but here we are. Illinois gets to square off against former nemesis and well-known cheater Kelvin Sampson and the Cougars.

Houston and Illinois led the NCAA in games missed by rotation players due to injury. Illinois is mostly healthy although Jacob Grandison only played 9 minutes against Chattanooga and didn’t attempt a field goal.

As MaxSam mentioned, we need something better from our guards as Curbelo, Frazier, and Williams combined for nine points in 90 minutes on 2-16 shooting. Last year, Illinois faced off against a computer darling who was severely underseeded by advanced metrics and we all know how that turned out. Illinois has struggled against teams with strong perimeter D like Houston so I expect that this won’t end well for Illinois.


oh yeah

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    phi slamma jamma
    (4 votes)
  • 50%
    flyin illini
    (4 votes)
8 votes total Vote Now

[7] Ohio State Buckeyes vs. [2] Villanova Wildcats

1:40pm | CBS | Nova -5.5 | O/U 132
South Region — PPG Paints Arena (Pittsburgh, PA)

MaximumSam: Chris Holtmann models his whole program after Villanova, so it is fitting they would meet in the tourney. There will be a lot of mirror imaging here - neither team really plays true big guys. They will be happy to switch everything on defense, move the ball a ton on offense, and generate good looks.

Ohio State was terrible from three against Loyola, shooting just 7%. They aren’t holding Villanova to 41 points, so they had better generate and hit some good looks if they want to win.


we have no interest in what’s happening here

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (1 vote)
  • 96%
    jay wright wears a mean suit, tho
    (25 votes)
26 votes total Vote Now

[7] Michigan State Spartans vs. [2] Duke Blue Devils

4:15pm | CBS | Duke -6.5 | O/U 144.5
West Region — Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, SC)

I assume Green Akers was not available to preview this game because he gets too emotional every time he tries to say an appropriate goodbye to his Uncle Mike.



This poll is closed

  • 61%
    mike krzyzewski loses valiantly, is given microphone to make tearful mike krzyzewski goodbye speech
    (27 votes)
  • 38%
    heroic mike krzyzewski inspires fightin’ mike krzyzewskis to victory, defeats coach not named mike krzyzewski
    (17 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now

[11] Iowa State Cyclones vs. [3] Wisconsin Badgers

5:10pm | TNT | wisc -4.5 | O/U 126
Midwest Region — Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee, WI)

Kind of...: For those of you who despise (your stereotype of) Wisconsin’s style of play, you might want to skip this game since Iowa State is even MORE of that. The Cyclones are #245 in pace and #142 in AdjO, but, thanks to a physical/tough defense (#9 in AdjD), here they are.

Will they slow down Johnny Davis? Will UW continue to run the offense through Tyler Wahl with some regularity (as they should)? Will Brad Davison rejoin the team after going missing Friday night? Or will Team Transfer Portal give Minnesota and Penn State fans the ability to go all “durr, Joe Burrow started off here” by proxy celebrating the achievements of Izaiah Brockington and Gabe Kalscheur?


hahahahahaha get dicked, hawkeyes fans

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    (17 votes)
  • 54%
    (20 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now

[11] Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. [3] Texas Tech Red Raiders

6:10pm | TBS | Tech -7.5 | O/U 132.5
West Region — Viejas Arena (San Diego, CA)

Kind of...: Mike Brey seems like a nice guy, but he coaches Notre Dame.

A dollar says you don’t know who coaches Texas Tech. Regardless, the Red Raiders are #1 in KenPom’s AdjD by a significant margin. The Irish HAVE been on a bit of a heater lately—ask the typically stout Rutgers defense—so maybe the stylistic contrast will lead to a fun game.

Or maybe it will look like last year’s title game with Texas Tech serving as Baylor to Notre Dame’s Gonzaga. I’m betting on the latter.


choose your flat bread

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    [/snaps fingers] literal body of christ
    (2 votes)
  • 94%
    [/fires gun] TORTILLAS, BITCH
    (35 votes)
37 votes total Vote Now

[10] Miami Hurricanes vs. [2] Auburn Tigers

6:45pm | truTV | Auburn -7.5 | O/U 144
Midwest Region — Bon Secours Wellness Arena (Greenville, SC)

Kind of...: Hearing plenty of talk about the upset potential here. But really, that only proves that too many people are looking for a #narrative. Of course it could happen, but Auburn is clearly more talented and just better.

Miami tried to hand USC the game Friday night (USC declined), and was swept by Florida State this year, who is basically C-list Auburn in terms of being long and rangy.


the bigger question

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    jim larrañaga is still kickin, huh?
    (9 votes)
  • 76%
    bruce pearl is still not incarcerated, huh?
    (30 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now

[6] Texas Longhorns vs. [3] Purdue Boilermakers

7:40pm | TNT | Purdue -3.5 | O/U 134
East Region — Fiserv Forum (Milwaukee, WI)

BoilerBettor: Yep, you've probably heard the story 4200 times. Painter is 0-2 against Chris Beard. Purdue lost a double digit lead to UALR in 2016. Purdue couldn't figure out Texas Tech's defense in 2018. Save Big Money at Menard's. It goes on and on and on and on.

The thing is those teams aren't like this team. Those teams didn't have superior depth and talent against just about anyone they walk onto the court with. This team does. Beard is going to scheme to take away what he can. The question is: Can he take away enough to beat this team?

Regrading the Painter-Beard thing: I'll say what I've said since the draw came out. To quote Ric Flair: "To be The Man, you have to BEAT The Man."

MNW: I'm sorry, wait. We've been dealing with Purdue fans' whiny bullshit because they are a whole 0-2 against a guy?!

At least charge him rent. Holy shit, you mental midget fanbase.


pick your purdue fan

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    "see i knew we couldn’t beat chris beard this is so unfair the refs let them get away with so much, now we have the burden of success that we must continue to bear whilst never getting over the hump" says i, boilerfanXX
    (16 votes)
  • 68%
    "wow i mean this is just unbelievable the refs were out to get us and yet still we found a way to win i am just so proud of this team but we’re probably still gonna lose next round" says i, boilerfanXX
    (34 votes)
50 votes total Vote Now

[9] TCU Horned Frogs vs. [1] Arizona Wildcats

8:40pm | TBS | Arizona -9.5 | O/U 143.5
South Region — Viejas Arena (San Diego, CA)

Kind of...: Okay, fine. Here’s how the #narrative game works. Look up TCU. From Feb. 1 onward, they’re 6-8, and that includes the win Friday night. So, two choices:

1) “I know TCU looked dangerous Friday night, but the real story here is that, with Kentucky losing, Arizona is clearly the biggest threat to Gonzaga, and those two teams are on a collision course for the title game.” (Bonus narrative: the master/protege angle with the coaches). Arizona rolls.

2) “TCU’s last four wins are over Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas, and Friday’s evisceration of Seton Hall. Horned Frog alum Jamie Dixon has his team coming together at the right time. Arizona had better be careful!”


what is a tommy lloyd

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    the coach who just lost to tcu
    (3 votes)
  • 90%
    the coach of arizona, whose name i will continue not to remember
    (29 votes)
32 votes total Vote Now

NCAA Women’s Tournament — 2nd Round

[10] Creighton Bluejays at [2] Iowa Hawkeyes

12pm | ABC | Line | O/U
Greensboro Region — Iowa host site

Kind of...: What if I told you that there was an Iowa Hawkeyes team that was capable of gorgeous, breathtaking offensive basketball. AND they were competently coached, keeping boneheaded mistakes and defensive lethargy to acceptable levels.

Of course you would know I’m not talking about Fran McCaffery’s crew!

This game is on ABC. Caitlin Clark is appointment viewing. Unless you really want to see Andre Curbelo have an on-court episode while dealing with Houston’s meat grinder defense, give this game a look.

[12] Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at [4] Maryland Terrapins

2pm | ESPN | Line | O/U
Spokane Region — Maryland host site

Kind of...: The B1G had four teams seeded 4 or higher, and each one gets a double-digit seed in the second round.

It feels like Brenda Frese’s crew underachieved a bit this year, but then you look, and the three non-conference losses were all to 1-seeds. Angel Reese is a double-double machine and the Terps—86-68 losers to Stanford back in November—are itching for another shot at the Cardinal in the Sweet 16.

[8] Miami Hurricanes at [1] South Carolina Gamecocks

2pm | ABC | Line | O/U
Greensboro Region — SCar host site

Kind of...: You just watched Iowa on ABC and this game is on next.

You might as well leave it on. It will feature the national title favorite. It shouldn’t take too long for you to realize why, despite Iowa’s offensive firepower, almost nobody gives them a chance of winning a regional with the Gamecocks in it.

[7] Utah Utes at [2] Texas Longhorns

4pm | ESPN | Line | O/U
Spokane Region — Texas host site

Kind of...: We all know that it’s very rare for a top 2 seed to lose in the first weekend of the women’s tournament.

It probably won’t happen in this game, either. But if it’s going to happen at all today, this is the likeliest best. If you give this game a look, keep your eye out for Ute frosh Gianna Kneepkens. The Pac-12 frosh of the year played her high school ball in Duluth and scored over 3,000 points in a legendary career. But, like most of the best high school players Minnesota produces, she realized that she could do better than the Gophers.

[10] South Dakota Coyotes at [2] Baylor Bears

5pm | ESPN2 | Line | O/U
Wichita Region — Baylor host site

Kind of...: [Clubs MNW from behind, drags his limp body into OTE utility closet, emerges wearing ill-fitting clothes.] “Hey, um, the Midwest has a lot of really underrated places and Vermillion is one of them. I did some research there once about, um, the geopolitics of alfalfa. And, err, there’s a brewery there too. I think. And, well...let’s see. Ooh! Adam Vinatieri!! Shit, he’s from Yankton. And played at South Dakota State. Dammit. [Backs up slowly.] Anyway, Baylor’s going to win big. I’ve gotta go.” [Sprints to emergency exit.]

1. I would say Vermillion is appropriately rated.
2. I deserved that.

[9] Gonzaga Bulldogs at [1] Louisville Cardinals

6pm | ESPN | Line | O/U
Wichita Region — Louisville host site

Kind of...Gonzaga took out Nebraska in the first round, but Louisville is going to roll because they are one of the five best teams in the country and Gonzaga is not. Let’s move on.

[6] Georgia Bulldogs at [3] Iowa State Cyclones

7pm | ESPN2 | Line | O/U
Greensboro Region — Iowa State host site

Kind of...Ashley Joens dropped a 36/15 performance Friday night, but the Cyclones really struggled to put away 14-seed Texas-Arlington. This suggests 6-seed Georgia has a real shot at the (marginal) upset.

Still ISU’s 6 losses this year are to LSU (3-seed), Baylor (2x, 2-seed), and Texas (3x, 2-seed), and Georgia’s glory days under Andy Landers are well in the past. If Georgia wins, point out that they beat 1-seed NC State in the regular season. For now, we deserve an Iowa/Iowa State rematch in the Sweet 16.

[8] Kansas Jayhawks at [1] Stanford Cardinal

8pm | ESPN | Line | O/U
Spokane Region — Stanford host site

Kind of...: Do it. Give me an “Actually Kansas can with this game pitch.” Stanford is the defending national champs and consensus #2 team this year. After the first quarter of their opening round game against Montana State, they led 20-0.

In the second quarter, this happened:

NIT — 2nd Round

[3] Florida Gators at [2] Xavier Minutemen

12pm | ESPN | Dayton Region | Xavier -3 | O/U 144.5

Both sides struggled to put away their tricky first-round mid-majors in Iona and Cleveland State, respectively, but this one should be an excellent contest. We’ll see if Xavier can get out and run a little and play their game.

[4] Washington State Cougars at [1] SMU Mustangs

2pm | ESPN+ | SMU Region | SMU -3 | O/U 140.5

The Cougs have a sneaky-good defense that smothered Santa Clara in their opening-round game, while SMU scuffled but eventually put away Nicholls. I’d take the under in this one.

[1] Dayton Flyers at [4] Vanderbilt Commodores

2pm | ESPN2 | Dayton Region | Vandy -2 | O/U 135

The rough draw for Dayton continues, though the travel is as relatively minimal as it could be—a jaunt down to Nashville to see the Commodores on their weird-ass court. Pretty evenly-matched game, though the Commodores’ Jordan Wright and Scotty Pippen Jr. bring a fun level of firepower to the proceedings.

[6] Virginia Cavaliers at [2] North Texas Mean Green

5pm | ESPN+ | Oklahoma Region | UNT -3 | O/U 110.5

Did you think the Hoos’ 60-57 win over Mississippi State was ugly?

What about the Mean Green’s 67-63 overtime win against Texas State?

Now slap those two regressive-ass systems together. Enjoy.

[5] St. Bonaventure Bonnies at [1] Oklahoma Sooners

7pm | ESPNU | Oklahoma Region | OU -6 | O/U 137

Sooners rolled MVC regular season champ Missouri State at home, while the Bonnies went on the road and handled the size of Colorado with aplomb. I’d take OU here again, but Porter Moser’s club is prone to the occasional power outage.


All games, sadly, on FloHoops until the semifinals. All games hosted in the Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, FL.

  • 11am: #9 UNC Wilmington Seahawks (-2, O/U 149.5) vs. #8 VMI Keydets
  • 1:30pm: #5 FAU Owls (-5, O/U 154.5) vs. #12 Northern Colorado Bears
  • 4pm: #7 UNC Greensboro Spartans (-1.5, O/U 132.5) vs. #10 Boston Terriers
  • 6:30pm: #6 Abilene Christian Wildcats (-4.5, O/U 140.5) vs. #11 Troy Trojans

No The Basketball Classic today; I know you’re all disappointed. Here’s your open thread for the day’s hoops: enjoy! Behave.